Everyone knows the mental health of employees impacts the workplace, but it’s often passed over besides an occasional “work-life balance” discussion. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for mental health services and support in the workplace has heightened as employees face new fears and stressors, making employee mental health a key component for workplaces today. As we approach a post-pandemic world, employees will expect a more mindful approach from organizations regarding their well-being, work-life balance, and overall mental health. Understanding your role in an employee’s mental well-being and how that impacts the workplace is HR’s next challenge towards finding greater organizational alignment in the post-pandemic world.
To no surprise, 30% of an individual’s life is spent in the workforce. Considering a large portion of someone’s life is spent at work, addressing mental health conditions in the workplace should be no question.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 51.5 million individuals suffer from mental health conditions in the United States. That is 20% of the population! Yet, 85% of American adults go undiagnosed or untreated.
In the workplace, an employee’s mental health left untreated can impact (CDC):
According to the CDC, ignoring or disregarding mental health conditions not only directly affects your employees negatively, but it can also impact your organization’s overall profitability and productivity.
Not to mention, overlooking mental health concerns can also cause adults to turn towards unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance use, which can create larger areas of concern for your organization.
Proactively supporting the mental health of your employees not only supports them but also supports the future success of your organization. Implementing programs, support, and resources in the workplace improves employee retention and loyalty, leaving your company better off.
As HR, your organization relies on you to look out for the well-being of your employees, including both their professional life and (to a certain degree) their personal life.
To support the well-being of your employees, consider:
Recently, Amazon has taken a stance on employee mental health by offering employees services like free counseling, 24-hour crisis support lines, and a mental health app. Larger organizations are setting the standard for a company’s role in an employee’s mental health. It’s time to get on board.
While it’s important to have employee health in view, oftentimes, HR is so focused on everyone else that it becomes easy to forget to consider HR’s mental well-being — your mental health matters too.
Who is HR’s go-to if they are the go-to? You know this: HR doesn’t always have someone looking out for their own interests. That’s why it’s so important for HR professionals, like you, to create avenues for healthy expression. Take a moment to step back and consider what outlets you have to support your own mental health.
Here are some tips to protecting your own mental health:
Bottom line is, to help your employees and protect their mental health, you need to help and protect yours too!
Supporting employee mental health in the workplace comes with benefits like (1) a strong company culture, (2) improved retention, (3) increased productivity, and (4) a stronger talent pipeline. In the post-pandemic world, we will see more organizations implementing mental health support programs.
To start protecting the mental health of your employees, remember to:
Implementing mental health programs in the workplace is a large part of HR reinvention. To hear more about the dynamic and ever-evolving reinvention of HR, check out an interview we did with IBM’s Global Leader of Talent & HR Reinvention Strategy, Elizebeth Varghese. While you’re at it, earn 1 SHRM professional development credit!